See the following links to download the BAVP agendas and abstracts for our upcoming winter meeting:
See below for an exciting new PhD position at the Moredun research institute investigating:
” Holistic approach to internal parasite control on hill and upland sheep farms “
Application deadline: 5th January 2020
For more details on how to apply please visit see the job advert through the following link:
Information about the post:
This PhD will investigate ways to optimise roundworm and liver fluke control in hill and upland sheep, to address the issue of increased anthelmintic (wormer) resistance in flocks. In Scotland, there are ~ 15,000 hill and upland farms with sheep, representing ~60% of the whole agricultural area. Despite this predominance, sheep production on these farms is becoming increasingly challenging. Currently, roundworm and fluke control is achieved by anthelmintic use at flock level, but regular whole-flock treatment may select strongly for resistance. Alternative approaches to control parasites whilst maintaining drug efficacy, include faecal egg count (FEC) monitoring, Targeted Selective anthelmintic Treatment (TST), pasture management and host genetic selection. However, their effectiveness will depend on the willingness and ability of farmers to implement them, as each option will have different financial and management implications.
Recent research on the use of a weight-based precision livestock farming TST method has been carried out by the Moredun Research Institute (MRI) and Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), with promising results in terms of reduced use of anthelmintics by 40-50% without adversely affecting lamb production.
This project will identify the scale of anthelmintic related issues faced by hill and upland sheep farmers, by gathering questionnaire information from both farmers and veterinary practices. In parallel, focus farms will be identified, their parasite challenge assessed and their approach to internal parasite control monitored over a full production year. After initial data collection and analysis, customised options for parasite control will be proposed, implemented and monitored on focus farms over the next production year. You will follow detailed sampling protocols and analysis with supervision from staff at SRUC, MRI and University of Edinburgh. Forecasting bio-economic modelling will be used to test the options available. After implementation, economic and performance data will be collected, to analyse the economic effects of improved disease control at farm level. This will allow practical recommendations on optimum internal parasite control on hill and upland sheep farms to be made.
We are delighted to invite you to the BAVP winter meeting 2019:
Moredun Research Institute, Edinburgh
5-6th December 2019
featuring Dr Stewart Burgess as our plenary speaker.
To register for the meeting and book your place at the annual dinner, click HERE.
Abstracts are welcomed on all veterinary parasitology-related topics, in particular abstracts on the main theme of “Novel approaches to parasite control” from students and early career researchers.
To submit an abstract, you can download and complete the following form by clicking HERE.
For more information on travel and accommodation, please download the conference poster by clicking HERE.
The deadline for registration and abstract submission is Monday 18th November
Queen’s University Belfast are currently advertising for a lectureship in Parasitology, and a fully funded PhD post investigating “Targeted treatment of gastrointestinal nematode infections in grazing ruminants”.
Interested applicants are invited to view these adverts at the following websites:
Application deadline 16/07/2019
PhD post: https://www.findaphd.com/phds
Application deadline 26/07/2019
Start date: October 2019
Building on the success of their ‘War of the Worms’ animation, BAVP colleagues at the Moredun Research Institute have produced a series of educational animations on:
Anthelmintic resistance (War of the Worms)
Liver fluke (Fight the Fluke)
Biosecurity (Battle of the Bugs)
Sheep scab (Stop the Spread)
Following the discontinuation in the UK of the only single active praziquantel product for equine tapeworm treatment, BAVP member Prof. Jacqui Matthews from the Moredun Research Institute has teamed up with Westgate Labs and Equisal to produce a guide on best practice for strategic equine endoparasite control.
See Equisal’s press release for more details.
The guide includes reccommended treatment choices based on positive worm egg count and/or tapeworm tests at different times of the year, and a table showing the current anthelmintic resistance status of equine endoparasites.
Prof. Matthews commented in the press release: “I think it’s an issue to limit prescribers’ options for worm species-targeted treatments. Wormer resistance is a growing problem and has the potential to become a major horse welfare threat. Losing the option of a praziquantel-only product means that any treatment option for tapeworm infection will now also impact redworms, whether required or not. Frequent drug exposure speeds the development of resistance and, over time, has potential to significantly decrease the effectiveness of the few chemicals that we have to treat life-threatening worm burdens in horses. To guard against this, we must become more strategic with parasite control. This means seeking tailor-made solutions for control based on knowledge of management, infection risk, drug sensitivity and, importantly, robust diagnostic tests.”
The Sustainable Control of Parasites in Sheep (SCOPS) and Control of Cattle Parasites Sustainably (COWS) groups are urging sheep and cattle farmers not to take their eyes off the ball when it comes to the liver fluke threat risk this autumn.
While liver fluke burdens on pasture are expected to be much lower than last season, experts are warning it is dangerous to assume that applies to all farms, all areas on a farm, or that levels will remain low as the autumn progresses.
Speaking on behalf of SCOPS, sheep consultant Lesley Stubbings says: “So far, reports from around the UK support this advice. Experts are warning that farmers must keep on their guard and are predicting that, due to changes in weather patterns, acute liver fluke cases may occur later than normal.”
Advice from SCOPS and COWS:-
- Don’t get caught out by treating too early. Monitor to determine the need and timing of treatments (see list of tools below).
- In lower risk situations, consider treating sheep with closantel or nitroxynil rather than triclabendazole.
- Worms (including haemonchus, which can produce signs similar to liver fluke disease) may be the problem, particularly in lambs. Keep in mind that haemonchus is also a risk for ewes.
- Investigate losses. A post mortem is still the best way to establish whether liver fluke is present.
- Monitor abattoir returns carefully for evidence of liver fluke.
Diana Williams, Liverpool University and a member of COWS, says: “Snail numbers on farms were high at the beginning of the season. While the hot dry weather caused numbers to drop during July and August in most locations, this was not the case everywhere, with high numbers of snails observed in some persistently wet habitats. This means that although overall numbers of snails are likely to be lower, specific areas of pasture may still present a high risk of fluke.”
John Graham-Brown of NADIS agrees: “The NADIS forecast anticipated that the hot dry weather over the summer months would have reduced snail activity, with lower infection levels of fluke on pasture as a result. Our predictions suggest the peak fluke season may be later and shorter this year.”
On many farms where animals would normally be routinely treated, testing not only aids the timing and choice of treatments but also helps to avoid unnecessary treatments of animals. SCOPS and COWS encourage producers to consider the range of tools available to them:-
- Faecal egg count (FEC) testing. To indicate if adult fluke are present in the animal.
- Coproantigen testing. Thought to detect the presence of fluke a little earlier (2-3 weeks in sheep) than a fluke FEC test.
- Blood (ELISA) testing. Detects antibodies produced when sheep and cattle are exposed to infections. These tests are most useful in animals in their first grazing season to indicate exposure to infection, but could be useful this year on farms where no exposure to fluke has been assumed because of the dry weather.
- Bulk-tank milk (ELISA) testing. To detect exposure to infection in dairy herds.
- Post mortems on dead animals.
- Abattoir returns on livers. A very useful source of information for both cattle and sheep.
Updates from around the UK
- Heather Stevenson, SRUC Veterinary Services, based in Dumfriesshire: “We are seeing some fluke eggs in a small number of samples from lambs, which are probably from infections picked up in late spring/early summer. However, we are seeing some massive worm (roundworm, not fluke) burdens in lambs and, because the symptoms can be similar to liver fluke with some worm species, farmers must get a diagnosis. If farmers treated for fluke in September as a routine without testing and don’t do anything else until January, they could easily be caught out.”
- Philip Skuce, Moredun, on monitoring work in Argyll: “To gauge current fluke infection levels, we are faecal sampling sheep in Argyll, a notorious hotspot for fluke due to its mild, wet climate, and this should act as a good early warning system for other parts of the UK. So far, we have seen low fluke egg counts (both liver fluke and rumen fluke), indicative of a low level chronic (adult) fluke infection –but this may change and we need to keep up the surveillance.”
- Sian Mitchell, APHA, based in Cardiff: “We have not diagnosed any cases of acute fluke in England and Wales as yet. But we are detecting fluke eggs in faeces or liver damage due to fluke on post mortem examination, suggesting chronic fluke infections. We are also seeing severe roundworm infections in lambs, reinforcing the need to get a diagnosis as to cause of diarrhoea or death.”
- Ben Strugnell, Farm Post Mortems Ltd, County Durham: “I have not seen any acute cases of liver fluke yet, only live adult flukes (as a subclinical disease) in suckler cows. These could have been a source of fluke eggs throughout the season and as such a ‘safe haven’ for the parasite during the very dry conditions.”
- Rebecca Mearns, Biobest: “We carry out the coproantigen test for liver fluke in our lab and, so far, there have not been any positive tests in lambs. I urge sheep farmers not to just rush to blame trace elements for poor lamb performance, as worms are a real threat this autumn.”
- Lesley Stubbings, SCOPS: “When we get a dry year, it is even more important that each farm does its own risk assessment and carries out monitoring and testing to avoid getting caught out, because there will be huge variation between regions and farms”.
Notes to editors: –
- This press release is issued by National Sheep Association (NSA) on behalf of SCOPS. For more information contact Katie James, NSA Communications Officer, on 01684 892661 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- SCOPS is an industry led group that works in the interest of the UK sheep industry. It recognises that, left unchecked, anthelmintic resistance is one of the biggest challenges to the future health and profitability of the sector. Find out more at www.scops.org.uk.
- COWS is a voluntary initiative aiming to provide the best available, evidence-based information to the beef and dairy cattle industries in relation to the sustainable control of both internal and external parasites. Find out more at www.cattleparasites.org.uk.
Abstract submission for the BAVP winter meeting 2018 has now been extended to Friday 30th November. If you are interested in submitting an abstract or attending please see our event poster for more details on registration fees, abstract submissions etc.
This year’s BAVP winter meeting will be held on the 10th – 11th December at the University of Cambridge.
The main meeting themes will be Climate Change (10th December), which will include a talk from Plenary speaker Dr Cyril Caminade from the University of Liverpool, and General Parasitology (11th December),
If you are interested in attending as either a delegate or as a presenter you can download a registration form by clicking here. Please complete this and return as instructed on the form.